When the Zucker Brothers created The Kentucky Fried Movie all those years ago I don’t think they knew quite what they were unleashing into the world. Since it and the other ZAZ productions (the “A” coming from partner Jim Abrams) introduced what could be argued was at the time a new genre into the film world: The spoof. Up until that point there had certainly been movies that lampooned Hollywood and its excesses but there wasn’t a concentrated effort to poke fun at the films themselves by blowing them up in order to tear them down. Some of the entries in this category have been better than others. Some have been more successful than others and the two designations don’t necessarily match up.
One series that has been successful is the Scary Movie franchise. Originally launched in 2000, the original and it’s two subsequent sequels have largely been melting pots for spoofs and parodies of not only legitimate horror films such as Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, The Ring and a host of others. Even non-horror films have come in for a pummelling. All of this is wrapped around a threadbare plot that serves no purpose but to enable the writers to have a bit of fun. The latest entry is the appropriately named Scary Movie 4. It once again stars Anna Farris as Cindy Campbell, the one constant in the movies who keeps finding her life is very strange.
There were a number of teaser posters created for this entry, most of which are riffs on recent horror or thriller-type movies. This one, for instance, is a direct parody of the posters for Saw. Next is one that turns the poster for War of the Worlds into something naughty. This one, though, is just all about how funny sex dolls are. They’re all pretty funny and work well in identifying just what the movie is going to be about (horror parody that’s dripping with sexual innuendo).
The theatrical poster is just a straight continuation of the images used for the previous three films. Farris and her co-stars, which this time include Dr. Phil and Shaquille O’Neil, sit in movie theater seats and look shocked. The idea behind the poster is actually quite cool. Having the characters arranged like this is convenient for presenting just who’s in the movie, yes. But putting them in theater seating subtley winks at the “movieness” of the movie, or the meta-thinking that’s behind a movie that makes fun of other movies. It’s not a bad concept.
The sole goal of the trailer is to show everyone the parts of the movie that spoof other movies. In that it succeeds spectacularly. War of the Worlds, The Village and more all get some screen time here. It’s not just movies but other parts of popular culture that get eviscerated in the movie though. Killer iPods, bumbling presidents who need to wait in a classroom after hearing of catastrophes and Tom Cruise’s couch-jumping escapades all get torn apart as well. It’s pretty funny. What’s neat is that you don’t actually need to have seen the movies being parodied. You only really need to have seen those movies’ trailers to get the jokes.
There have also been a number – about seven – TV spots created for the movie. They all follow the same theme of showing the movie parody portions of the film and all seem to have a target demographic in mind. For instance, some play up the African-American members of the cast. Another emphasizes Shaq’s role. Almost all of them show the scene of Shaq and Dr. Phil in the Saw scene where Phil saws off the wrong foot and passes out, which, quite frankly, never stops being funny. There was also a completely gratuitous video created showing Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends engaging in a pillow fight while clad only in their underwear called “6 Times the Fun.” I may need to take a moment.
Plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and buckle up for this one.
“Entrailers” is where you’ll find the trailer, TV spots and other videos such as the Hefner Girls pillow fight. In the “Goodies” section you’ll find the movie’s various posters available as both wallpaper downloads or as AIM icons. The “EEE-Card” is an e-card of an alien ship zapping the clothes off Carmen Electra and is pretty funny. Buy tickets to the movie via Fandango when you click the aptly named “Tickets” section and sign up for updates through “Get Infected.”
The “Talk Scary To Me” micro-site is pretty cool. It’s essentially a caption contest that lets you choose from a variety of images to caption and then submit them for the community to vote on. In the “Battle to the Death” game you don’t actually do much, just power-up a character who then fights someone else. You don’t actually do the fighting, just press a couple buttons to give your guy as much power as you can in a short period of time. Finally, “Visit Booble Earth” is a missile defense game that’s kind of fun.
They also created a MySpace page for the movie that recreates a lot of the content, only with the “friending” functionality of the network. In perhaps my favorite move, the trailer was made available on YouTube. And subscribing to the trailers and other video content through iTunes was easy as pie via a link to do so on the website.
The trailer, posters and website are all pretty good. But my favorite part of the campaign is the YouTube/iTunes move. As I wrote at the time it made what can sometimes be tricky or unclear incredibly easy for the audience. The rest of the push is good and definitely plays to the core group that will be interested in this but that one thing is an embracing of the power of the consumer in a meaningful and effective way.